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Habitat Conservation Plan has nothing to do with Agenda 21

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Posted: Saturday, August 4, 2012 12:00 am

I would like to offer clarification on the difference between what our local governments, including the San Joaquin Council of Governments, are doing and what the state of California, U.S. federal government and the United Nations are doing with regards to Agenda 21.

Local governments are pushing people towards higher densities, but they are doing so to comply with State Law, specifically AB 32 and SB 375. The "guise" most often used to push people into higher density is not the preservation of land for wildlife, but rather the preservation of land for agriculture. Although my personal viewpoint is that these laws are harmful to our economy and not beneficial to our quality of life, the fact remains they are the laws of California.

SJCOG is not taking away anyone's land or rights, they are finding willful sellers of certain property rights and purchasing a conservation easement. The decision for the use of this land remains with the landowner with only the stipulation that the land must continue to be farmed, but no orchards or vineyards may be planted. Taxpayer money is not used to purchase these easements. The easements are paid for with developer money.

I am the CEO of the Building Industry Association and I represent those who pay this money to COG, and I sit on the Technical Advisory Committee at COG which oversees how the developer money is spent.

The COG Habitat Conservation Plan has nothing to do with Agenda 21 or the United Nations. It exists for compliance with the Endangered Species Act. To the best of my knowledge, the Endangered Species Act was in place long before the U.N. adopted Agenda 21.

I would suggest those who oppose Agenda 21 address their efforts to our Senate and our president, and those who oppose conservation easements should address the California Legislature — I would support them in doing so.

John Beckman

CEO, BIA of the Greater Valley


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